Corey Clark, one of nine ex-American Idol contestants alleging racial discrimination.

Corey Clark, one of nine ex-American Idol contestants alleging racial discrimination.

“American Idol” is facing a potentially explosive lawsuit for allegedly discriminating against nine former black contestants. Their disqualification for allegedly having criminal backgrounds constituted a “cruel and inhumane” play for ratings, they alleged.

The claims seem specious, since the show has had three African-American winners, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks.

James H. Freeman, a New York lawyer who specializes in employment law, alleges he has found a pattern of conduct that suggests the nine former African-American contestants were forced off the show to boost ratings. Knowing how producers have manipulated the show in the past, his claims don’t seem that far fetched.

The American Idol Nine

  • Corey Clark (Season 2)
  • Jaered Andrews (Season 2),
  • Donnie Williams (Season 3),
  • Terrell Brittenum (Season 5),
  • Derrell Brittenum (Season 5),
  • Thomas Daniels (Season 6),
  • Akron Watson (Season 6),
  • Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8)
  • Chris Golightly (Season 9)

Source: TMZ

But he has legal hurdles to clear before he gets to court.

Under federal law, he must first file a complaint before the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency will conduct its own investigation, and could also bring suit on behalf of the “American Idol Nine.”

If the agency decides to take no action, it wouldn’t prevent Freeman from pursuing the claim on his own in state or federal court.

Jones’ departure fro the show in March last year was the catalyst for Freeman’s investigation into the show, according to the gossip site.. Producers claimed Jones failed to tell them about outstanding arrest warrants.

Now here’s where the case gets a little cloudy. Freeman claims asking questions about criminal history on an employment application violates California state law. But it doesn’t violate federal law. So why is he pursuing the action on a federal level?

Also his case appears to rest on the supposition that contestants were applying for jobs with the show and were essentially employees once they made the cut. That could prove interesting in terms of case law.

The upshot is the show allegedly perpetuated “destructive stereotypes” about black people. The show, so far, has declined to comment.